When news that the Buff-breasted Sandpiper had been seen along Lake St. Clair, I knew I would be traveling to the other side of town to see this beautiful, elegant-looking shorebird.
One, it’s a beautiful bird!
The light buff-brown colored bird with black patterned spots on its head and back stands out in the grasslands where it’s commonly seen during fall migration.
Two, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper is not a common bird seen in our area. It’s been observed infrequently during fall migration in the past few years.
According to maps on the Cornell ebird website, it was spotted in six locations in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula during fall migration this year, including
- Lake St. Clair Metro Park, where I saw it
- East of Muskegon
- Macatawa, near Lake Michigan
- Houghton Lake
- Au Gres
One of the longest-distance migratory birds, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper travels from its breeding grounds in the high Arctic tundra of northern Alaska, northern Canada, all the way to Argentina where it winters over.
Three, seeing the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was a life bird for me, first time I’ve ever seen it. Making it bird number 278 for me on my birding life list!